Protecting Your Trademarks in the Domain Name Big Bang


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Update on new gTLD application process; description of trademark clearinghouse and protections available for brand owners

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Protecting Your Trademarks in the Domain Name Big Bang

  1. 1. Protecting Your TrademarksIn The Domain Name Big BangJamie NafzigerMark WagnerDorsey & Whitney LLP 1
  2. 2. Highlights• Quick Overview of Domain Names• Recent Round of Expansion• Application Process• Applications Filed• Disputes• Political Wranglings• Strategic Considerations• Trademark Clearinghouse• Timeline 2
  3. 3. What is a Domain Name?• Unique memorable, address for an electronic resource on the Internet• Stands in for an IP Address 3
  4. 4. What is a TLD?•••••• 4
  5. 5. Current TLDs• .com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, .org – originals, created in 1980s• .uk, .ca, .il, .de, .au, .it, etc. – ccTLDs; first ones created in 1985, now over 250• .biz, .info, .name, .pro, .aero, .coop, .museum – 2000-2001• .asia, .cat, .jobs, .mobi, .tel and .travel – 2003• .xxx – 2011 5
  6. 6. Current TLDs – By Type• Open Generic TLDs – .com, .net, .org, .info, .name, .mobi, .tel – open to anyone• Restricted gTLDs – .aero, .coop, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .biz, .asia, .cat, .jobs, .museum, .pro, .travel, .xxx – restricted• Country Code TLDs 6
  7. 7. Cast of Characters• Registry • Registrar – DB of DNs registered – Retail sales of DNs in in a TLD registry – Operated by separate – E.g., GoDaddy, entities Network Solutions, • Verisign = .com, .net TuCows 7
  8. 8. Cast of Characters cont’d• ICANN – Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers – Responsible for all of the Internets unique identifiers – I.P. addresses and domain names 8
  9. 9. To Expand or Not To Expand?2000 - 2011• Expansion round in 2000 (7 gTLDs added)• Mid-decade (7 more gTLDs added)• Several years of debate – Objections from brand owners – Economic studies• June 20, 2011 ICANN approved current expansion – Accept unlimited number of applications – Add no more than 1,000 new gTLDs to root zone in given year 9
  10. 10. Expand!• Application period began January 12, 2012• No requirement to disclose intention to apply• Hundreds of pages of application materials (business plan, financial, technical)• Multiple vendor agreements• $185,000 filing fee per application• Multiple issues and delays – Security breaches – file names, user names – Reveal day – June 13, 2012 – Disclosure of contacts’ personal information – Digital archery – Customer service portal security bugs – Head of gTLD program resigned 10
  11. 11. 1,930 Applications!• 1846 “standard”• 84 community-based• 66 geographic names• 116 internationalized domain names (IDNs) in non-Latin scripts• 60 countries represented• 751 applications in competition with other apps for identical or similar gTLDs• 911 North America; 675 Europe; 303 Asia Pacific; 24 Latin America; and 17 Africa• 6 have been withdrawn• Link to view list: 11
  12. 12. 1,930 Applications!1409 Unique TLDs696 .brand applications• E.g., .Visa, .Fujitsu, .TJMaxx, .XBox, .Mattel, .HBO, .Fox, .Cialis, .McDonalds, .Datsun• Surprising absences: Apple (beyond .apple) and Facebook• 693 are “single user”• Some competition: – Different brand owners applied for .guardian, .monster, .goo and .now – Competition from generic apps, e.g., .coach, .live and .spot 12
  13. 13. 1,930 Applications!Some Big Players• = 307 applications, all generic. Claims to have raised US$ 100 million for its gTLD applications• Google = 101 applications, some for brands, mostly generic• Amazon = 57 generic, 19 brand• Uniregistry = 54• Demand Media = 26 13
  14. 14. 1,930 Applications!Not All Generics To Be “Open” --No third parties will be able to register at second-level• Amazon: 57 closed generics, e.g., .app, .book, .movie, .music, .game, .free• Google: 14, e.g., .app, .site, .talk and .page• Dish: 10, e.g., .direct and .dtv, (seem similar to brands of DirectTV)• Dominion Enterprises: 9, e.g. apartments, .autos, .cars and .boats• IG Group Holdings: 6, all in financial category• Other companies: Allstate, Symantec, Progressive, Fidelity, Bridgestone, Richemont, Goodyear and Scripps Networks 14
  15. 15. New gTLD Examples: Consumer .dell .ibm .datsun .intel .omega.american .delta .jaguar .oracleexpress .dodge .lamborghini .dupont .lancome .epson .lego .ericsson .lexus .sony.avery .fedex .loreal .ferrari .macys .firestone .marriott .swatch.buick .ford .marshalls .swiss.cadillac .fujitsu .mattel .goodyear .maybelline .google .mcdonalds .gucci .microsoft .heinz .mitsubishi .travelers.chevrolet .hilton .montblanc .visa.chevy .hitachi .netflix .holiday .nike .honeywell .nikon .hyatt .nissan .hyundai .nokia .youtube 15
  16. 16. New gTLD Examples: Technology/Internet[.mobile] Chinese .computer .security[.network] Chinese .data .site[.online] Chinese .digital .tech[.online] Cyrillic .email .technology[.site] Arabic .engineer .web[.site] Cyrillic .engineering .website[.web/network] Arabic .equipment[.website] Chinese .host[.webstore] Chinese .hosting.antivirus .search .secure 16
  17. 17. New gTLD Examples: .loan.banque .mutual .tax.financialaid 17
  18. 18. New gTLD Examples: Retail.[bazaar] Arabic .discount .store.[shopping] Chinese .fashion .[store] .fashion .[store] .[fashion] Japanese .free .today.[cell] Chinese .[mall] Chinese .[online shopping] Chinese .[vogue fashion] .[sale] .shop .shopping .[shopping] Chinese 18
  19. 19. New gTLD Examples: 19
  20. 20. New gTLD Examples:[.food] Japanese 20
  21. 21. New gTLD Examples: .hoteles .hotels .international .lifestyle .map .mobile .motorcycles .phone .photo .photography .[world] .place.[globe] Chinese .ski.hotel .sport 21
  22. 22. New gTLD Examples: 22
  23. 23. New gTLD Examples: 23
  24. 24. New gTLD Examples: Geographic/ .rio.catalonia .[foshan].cymru .[quangdong].dubai .[shenzhen] 24
  25. 25. New gTLD Examples: Others of .education .law .energy .lawyer .sucks.architect .esq .legal .family .llc .film .llp .fishing .london .florist .love .football .ltd .furniture .madrid .gallery .miami [.arab] .game .global .gmbh .home .house .inc .islam .radio.corp .international .kid .scholarships .kids .school 25
  26. 26. DisputesActions Against Applied-For TLDs• Application Comment• Existing Legal Rights Objection (“ELRO”) – Handled by World Intellectual Property Office (“WIPO”) – Object that an applied-for gTLD infringes trademark rights• Community Objection• Limited Public Interest Objection• Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (“PDDRP”) – Trademark owners against a registry whose conduct causes or materially contributes to trademark abuse• Litigation? 26
  27. 27. Disputes cont’dActions Against Second Level Domain Registrants• UDRP – same as before• Litigation, e.g. Under ACPA – same as before• Uniform Rapid Suspension (“URS”) – Supposed to be lighter, quicker complement to UDRP, but actually has higher burden for complainant, more defenses for registrant – Only remedy is temporary suspension of a domain name for the duration of the registration period 27
  28. 28. Current Political Issues• Brand owners seeking greater protection• Complaints about one-owner generic gTLD applications filed primarily by Amazon and Google• Complaints to and by governments 28
  29. 29. Strategic Considerations• Impact on the internet• Impact on users• Impact on search engine rankings• Defensive registrations• Watch services• Post-registration disputes 29
  30. 30. Trademark Clearinghouse: Benefits• Receive notice when identical second-level DN registered• Potential infringer receives notice of claim before registration• Does not block infringements• Validates trademark for use in sunrise period applications – Even with validation, need eligibility 30
  31. 31. Trademark Clearinghouse: Requirements(Based on ICANN Draft)• Authorized contact (confirmed 1x per year)• Trademark registration (or statute, treaty, or court order) – Exceptions (Supplemental, no dots) – Characters (@, &, other) and spaces – Other languages• For use in sunrise, also need – Signed declaration of use – Sample of use 31
  32. 32. Trademark Clearinghouse: Requirements(Based on ICANN Draft) cont’d• Anticipate $150 filing fee/mark – Does not include sunrise costs – May not include multiple exact matches• Prompt notice of changes (assignment, abandonment)• Yearly re-verification/renewal• Proof of use every 5 years• Mechanism available to challenge others’ submissions 32
  33. 33. Trademark Clearinghouse: Timing• Was slated to open in October and close in January• Disagreement with registries over design and efficiency• Disagreement with brand owners over duration and extent of similarity• Just opened public comment period (closes November 7)• Launch date unknown (at least 90 days before first gTLD launches) 33
  34. 34. Current Timeline (Likely to Change)• ICANN has started evaluating gTLD apps• October: Government early warnings• October: ICANN meeting in Toronto• December: Prioritization drawing• March 13: Deadline to file gTLD disputes• April 2013: Government advice• June/July: Finish evaluations of all gTLD apps• Q3-Q4 2013: First new gTLDs launch 34
  35. 35. Take-Aways• Assess whether to file gTLD disputes• Consider which gTLDs have marketing value• Plan defensive registration strategy• Prepare to enter marks into Trademark Clearinghouse• Select watch service provider, once available• Monitor political developments & ICANN policy• Monitor business realities 35
  36. 36. Questions?Jamie Nafzigernafziger.jamie@dorsey.comMark 36